Game Analysis: IU 76, Penn State 73

Robert Johnson came up big with 20 points, Stanford Robinson came off the bench to score 12 and Indiana was forced to hang on to another nail-biting win at Assembly Hall. Here is our regular Game Analysis that looks back at IU-Penn State.

Here is an analysis of Tuesday’s 76-73 Indiana victory over Penn State at Saturday’s at Assembly Hall. The win improved IU’s record to 3-1 in Big Ten play. This analysis is a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.

WHAT LOOKED GOOD:Indiana got some much-needed energy at times Tuesday night from an unlikely source. Ryan Burton, a walk-on who had only played in seven of the first 16 games, came in and gave the Hoosiers an emotional lift. He only played 5 minutes and didn’t score but he did have three offensive rebounds on a night when rebounds in general were a problem. Penn State had a 37-30 rebounding edge and IU only managed six offensive boards. So in 5 minutes, Burton was able to get half that total. The Hoosiers also got a huge lift off the bench from Stanford Robinson. Robinson had a season-high 12 points. It was the first time he had scored in double figures in a game since last March at Michigan. And again, Robinson brought instant energy on a night when IU seemed to lack in that department. IU did appear to regain its touch from 3-point range as the Hoosiers were 9-of-21 from distance including a couple of big ones late in the game by Robert Johnson and Collin Hartman.

WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:One frustrating point for the Hoosiers of late is IU’s inability to put an opponent away. This was again the case Tuesday night against Penn State. The Hoosiers led by 12 points with 6:53 to play at 69-57. But Penn State was able to whittle into that lead and get the game to within three on a couple of occasions. The problem for IU just seems to be once it gets a good lead then it sits on the ball and waits until deep in the shot clock to get off a good shot. If that shot doesn’t fall, the ball is going the other way. This has been a common, consistent theme for IU in recent weeks. Another area that was troublesome Tuesday was in points in the paint where Penn State held a 46-26 advantage. Some of this was from a 13-6 edge in offensive rebounds and a good height advantage. But the Hoosiers didn’t seem to do a great job of blocking out overall which led to a lot of second chance opportunities. Penn State had 15 second chance points.

FERRELL KEEPS HIS 3-POINT STREAK ALIVE

: Yogi Ferrell was only 1-of-5 from 3-point range but the one he made continued one of the nation’s longest individual streaks. Ferrell has made at least one 3-pointer in 48 consecutive games. That’s the second longest streak in the nation.

FOR STARTERS:After starting the same starting lineup for 11 games in a row, IU Tom Crean was forced to switch things up with the announcement earlier Tuesday that Hanner Mosquera-Perea will be lost for four weeks with a dislocated knee cap. Starting in his place Tuesday was Collin Hartman. IU’s starting five combined to hit 23-of-49 shots from the field, all nine of IU’s 3-point makes and all 21 attempts, and went 6-of-9 from the free throw line. The starters had 20 of IU’s 30 rebounds, 13 of the 16 assists and all nine of the turnovers. The Hoosier starters scored 61 of the team’s 76 points.

INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here’s a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Tuesday’s victory over Penn State:

1. ROBERT JOHNSON: For the second time in four Big Ten games, Johnson led the Hoosiers in scoring (he also did so at Nebraska). Johnson scored 20 points which was one off his career-high of 21 against Texas Southern in November. He hit 7-of-11 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He had two rebounds, one assist and two steals. He played 28 minutes.

2. Stanford ROBINSON:: Robinson came off the bench and provided energy and effort Tuesday night. He had a season-high 12 points and his first double-digit scoring effort of the season. He hit 3-of-6 shots, all six free throws (left handed) and had four rebounds. He also did not have a single turnover in 17 minutes. It was precisely the spark that Indiana needed.

3. EMMITT HOLT: Holt struggled in 13 minutes of play, scoring one point and being held without a rebound. Especially with Mosquera-Perea now sidelined for up to four weeks, Holt is going to have to step up his play. Tuesday night was not a good start. And it was a bit of a surprise, too, because Holt has played pretty consistently up until Tuesday. IU is going to need him to be a consistent six points, six rebounds kind of player moving forward.

NEXT UP: Indiana (13-4, 3-1) travels to face Illinois on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Champaign. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Illinois is 11-6 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play and travels to face Northwestern on Wednesday night.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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